21st Century Education: Integrating Apps in Learning


There are different kind of students; the academe, over-achievers, jocks, queen-bees and happy-go-lucky types, who are too cool for school until it’s almost time for graduation. I can find one thing in common with them:

“these students spend lots of time with their mobile devices”

and so educators must learn to peak their student’s interest and alter their teaching technique that is best suited for the current trend in learning but at the same time still be in accordance to the school’s standards. 59 percent of students use mobile phones to study, while 93 percent of them use their Smartphone to access study apps, so why not start adopting a few changes in your teaching strategies?

Mobile Learning

Some teachers gave-in to the TechEd evolution and tried the following:

(1)  Spearheaded (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device programs

Encourage your students to use of their gadgets in class to boost their learning productivity. Involving these medium for learning will help them utilize and optimize their usage other than just for social media and communication purposes.

(2) Integrated mobile & desktop applications to their lesson plans

  • DropBox: Free online back-up storage you can use to save your documents, presentations, photos and other files. Compatible with iOS and Android devices.

To facilitate file sharing with ease; everyone needs to create their own unique user ID then share notes, review materials and even homework to your students online. All the stored resources can be accessed online and through any device as long as you logged in using your ID and by adding files in the “Favorite” labeled folder, saved files can still be accessed even when offline.

  • Haiku Deck: Presentation software that’s simple, beautiful, and fun. Works for all types of presentations including enliven a to-do list, tell a story with words and pictures, and summarize a discussion.

Create a stunning visual presentation using your iPad. Making visuals for your presentation can be a breeze. Choose from a wide selection of elegantly designed background slide themes, fonts and color palettes and share your presentation on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. You should also develop your student’s visual literacy by making them a critical viewer of the media.

  • Edmondo: A free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate

A must have app for very classroom where every member of can create their own profile very similar to Facebook. It is especially designed to promote teacher-student engagement. Sharing resources and connecting with the respective instructors is made easier and seizing each student’s performance can be done in real-time.

(3)  Implemented the use of classroom management tools and applications

  • Teacher Kit. Be future forward and go mobile with this free app previously known as the “TeacherPal” app. Available for iOS and Android.

Start being techie and organized. Move on from the old-school class records and use this app for creating class lists, taking attendance, entering grades, managing student data, keeping seating charts, monitoring student behavior in class and more.

Seeking for the right mix of strategy in choosing the teaching platform you want take can be a bit tricky! So knowing your students well can be a great help in planning how to go about your lessons. Try the ideas above or share something that worked for you.


Mobile Learning as an Effective Training Tool for Employment


mlearningThe paradigm has shifted – access of information through mobile is considered as the driving force of many important industries across the globe. The advent of wireless fidelity, long term evolution, 3G and similar innovations created an omnipotent portal to knowledge.

Communication is made much easier; the world is continually shrinking, and the human connection is no longer measured in degrees of separation but friend requests, circles, or follows. Kristine Peters, a researcher from Flinders University in Australia, noted that “mobile information and communication technologies are important enablers of the new social structure.” She said that society is experiencing the ongoing rise of truly “portable” ICT (information and communications technology) driven by the consumer’s fancy of mobile gadgets such as tablets and iPhones. In the United Kingdom, news reports still show that sales of the iPhone 5 remain unfazed, driven by deals offered by network providers.  In fact, O2 is continuously attracting more iPhone 5 fans daily, especially with their current drop of prices.


One of the greatest advantages of this shift to mobile is the decreased dependence to fixed work and to learning places. Data transfer through wireless networks paved the way for a more flexible working condition, and relaxed definition to the term ‘workspace.’ This affects all aspects of the business system – including training. Mobile learning is gradually being considered as a standard method or practice in many institutions.

In the past, corporate and academic training never meant teaching in the most classic set-up possible. Face to face meetings and online aids accessible at home used to be the standard practice. Training Magazine said that almost everyone has access to internet via smartphones and tablets, anyone can train on the go. The most effective training method today is the one that offers the least intrusion to a trainee’s schedule, the magazine added. What this means is that mLearning is the best possible way of training people. Training need not be scheduled at a certain time or day. Ubiquity means training is anytime, anywhere.


School of Economics of London study concluded that technology widens the barrier between generations. This ‘generation gap’ demonstrates one of the key points against mLearning as an effective training method. The trainer – trainee relationship might not go well smoothly when the trainee has more knowledge than the trainer. A separate research featured by FlexibleLearning.com found out that even if trainers use mobile technology for clerical tasks respondents said that they would very much prefer if they used the mobile device as a teaching tool instead. Fannon, the author of the said research, even said that almost half of the respondents were willing to be trained only with the use of a smartphone.

Smart Search

Mobile applications usually gather personalized information regarding the user such as current location, time, and status. GPS detection by apps created a very personal cloud of information that is as unique as the DNA makeup of its user.

As far as training in the workplace goes, a context sensitive device is practical when gathering data. Being ‘context aware,’ mobile learning is made extra dynamic. “When using applications in these [context aware] settings, a user has much to gain by the effective use of implicitly sensed context,” said Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd in their research paper about context and context awareness. Apps that are considered smart or contextually optimized provide invaluable task-relevant services and information to every trainee.

In conclusion, mLearning is the most practical and logical method in training people in corporate, academic, or institutional setting. The advent of new technology and the continuous upgrading of the human capacity to gather information have led to an era where learning can be made to measure. Clearly, the educational use of mobile technology brings many incentives, which traditional training methods cannot provide.

Why Tablets Are a Speaker’s Best Friend?


TabletsThere’s never been a more useful piece of equipment for a public speaker than a tablet since the invention of the autocue, and any talented speaker tends to avoid even those. The tablet allows someone to walk onto the stage with an item no larger than a pad of paper, connect it up to the A/V setup on stage and do everything from read their speech off the device to conduct presentations and even demonstrate how software works in real time. It’s an incredibly powerful device to have in your hands when presenting to an audience.

However, if you’ve got a real audience to contend with after a regular “podium” on Twitter, it is tempting to yearn for the solace of being able to communicate with a full suite of computing tools on hand. If you want to look at PDFs of important research papers or social media, then having your iPad on your podium should help you through your speech.

What Podium Cue allows public speakers to get on with talking and leave all of the peripheral worries about things going awry out of your process. Being able to swipe between pages and maintain a continuous flow of speech is a lot easier, and we’ve built color-coding and timer cues into the app to ensure that everything from staying on-topic section-by-section and ensuring you’re pacing yourself well during your speech becomes a lot easier.

One of the best things the app does to aid your presentations is limit the amount of content per slide. While this initially sounds horrifying, you can all imagine speeches where someone has a tiny font and a lot of scribbled notes in the margins and it causes chaos. Instead, this format forces you to be more concise and to expand on simple, straightforward thoughts rather than stumble through something long, complex and overly rehearsed. Plant a seed for your speeches – don’t attempt to navigate a forest.

One of the main advantages of using a tablet when doing audiovisual presentations is that you don’t have to stand by a podium or look behind you in order to see what the audience does. You’re free to stroll across the stage, mike and tablet in hand, presenting graphs, videos and even just slides without having to worry that people are questioning why you’re on stage rather than in your seat doing a voice-over into a microphone.

Thus, we cut to the heart of the matter. Public speaking isn’t just the art of being able to talk into a microphone in front of people – it’s part information delivery and part performance. You need to engage your audience visually, and being able to cross the stage, monitor what they’re seeing and even demo things for them live (by streaming from your iPad to the on-stage screen), and a tablet and apps like Podium Cue will assist you in doing that.

The Gamification of Apps


APpsApps are rapidly turning into games. Obviously, apps that are already games aren’t what we’re talking about, here – instead, it’s apps that are designed without gaming in mind that are being influenced by games and their ability to incentivize the way we engage with them. These days, you’re just as likely to level up in a social check-in app as you are in an RPG – and that’s fantastic.

It has however been suggested that this may be the wrong approach – that so many apps are gamififying their mechanics to the point where it’s impossible to find a social iPhone app that works straightforwardly, rather than constantly awards you badges and experience points. While these incentives do reward users, apps should retain some level of purity, and as Ingrid Lunden states, this approach means that “many of the apps using the technique are becoming noise themselves.”

It’s true – play a session of Angry Birds and all the mechanics fit because you’re playing a game. But if you then start to find star ratings and unlocks inside your banking app, it’s not unlikely that the app will not be as efficient or fully-featured as it could be because the incentives have begun to replace the actual features.

Foursquare is definitely a service that worked very well and had a noticeable presence when it first launched, but these days it’s easy to feel that someone’s a bit odd when they’re still auto-tweeting the fact they’ve become Mayor of their local Starbucks in 2013. The reason for this is that while the app had medals and various accomplishments, it was essentially built around its gamification mechanics and offered little else – there was no real need to have a service to tell people where you were unless you were really keen on helping burglars.

The ideal approach to gamification would be to appreciate why you might need it, as if you have to give people badges and experience points to use your app, it might be worth considering that the app by itself lacks incentives for extended or regular use. Perhaps the best approach for all of these gamified apps appearing on the marketplace would be for us to only opt for those what would be great to start with, rather than ones where we’re paying for an app, just for mechanics that exist in a thousand other ones.

Gartner, the information technology research and advisory firm, recently published a report stating that gamified apps are going to fail 80% of the time if your reason for involving game mechanics in your software is purely due to novelty and hype. If all of those badges and points have no real meaning or use, then you’re just adding noise to a quiet room. These are wise words, and it’s definitely something to consider as a consumer – if you’re paying for apps, try and opt for the ones where gamification is used intelligently and really rewards you – don’t be fooled by shiny stickers.


How Mobile Technology Evolved in the Past 20 Years


Mobile Phone EvolutionFor the past two decades, mobile technology has evolved around our society’s needs. From making calls to monitoring a patient’s health remotely, smartphones have become essential tools to run our daily lives. They became so pervasive that people can’t live with them anyone. Now, we’re entering an age where different devices are starting to merge via cloud computing, and high-speed broadband connectivity.

As we move towards a more mobile future, let’s look back at the last twenty years and see how this technology evolved, which helped us shape the Digital Age.

Mobile Communication: 1G to 4G

The first generation (1G) mobile communication was first launched in 1977. Called the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), it helped the mass market communicate via cellular technology. However, it was prone to eavesdropping via a cellular scanner which allowed for cellphone cloning. A decade later, the second generation (2G) network was established and it used digital signals instead of analog. During this generation, more cell sites were established to accommodate the increasing number of users, SMS or Short Messaging Service was made available, and prepaid services were also introduced.

As more people used their phones for their daily tasks, the demand for larger data increased and 2G isn’t enough for it. With that in mind, the industry started its development of the next generation of mobile communication—3G. It was faster, leaner, and it allowed for mobile broadband data transmission over a cellular network. People can now listen to podcasts, watch videos, and live streaming on their mobile devices, thanks to 3G technology. It was also during this time that mobile internet was truly realized. But with the introduction of bandwidth-intensive applications and smart devices, the industry needed something better—4G.

4G or the fourth-generation cellular communication provides users with ultra-broadband Internet access. It paves the way for faster web access, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, and cloud computing. In an article published on Verizonwireless’ website, 4G or 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is clearly paving the way for the next wave of innovations. People can now access data in real-time, while improving the overall user experience.

From a “Brick” to a True “Smart Phone”

In 1983, the first commercially-available cellular phone was introduced—the Motorola Dynatac  8000X. Measuring 13 x 1.75 x 3.5, “The Brick”, as it was fondly called, let you talk for about 30 minutes and it boasted with 10-hours of standby time. But in 1993, IBM launched the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, which became the predecessor of our modern smartphone. It was a calculator, phone, pager, and an email device. The Simon was truly a power house during that time, but it was too big and bulky to carry around.

It was in 1996 when Motorola launched its new phone—the Motorola StarTac. Coined as the “Wearable Cellular Phone”, it was small enough to slip into your pocket and light enough to carry anywhere with you. Designed after the famous Star Trek Communicators, it had a clam shell design and it offered a discreet vibrate mode, instead of a loud and annoying ringer. However, things changed when Nokia unveiled their new phone—the Nokia 6110. Featuring a monochromatic display, it was the first phone to introduce Menu icons, an infrared port, and it was also pre-installed with their highly-popular game “Snake”.

Other phones followed like the Nokia 7110, which was made popular by “The Matrix” movie. The Handspring Treo had 16MB of internal memory, and it was the first one to offer the Graffiti Text Input. On the other hand, the Blackberry 5180 had a thumb keyboard, email, and it came with a headset. Modeled after the “Minority Report” movie, the Nokia 7650 was the first phone to feature a 4,096 color display and 30 ring tone options. The 7650 was also the first cellphone to include a built-in camera.

But 2007 was the year that changed everything, when Apple launched the iPhone. Its innovative design and use of a touch sensitive screen ushered in a new age of phones. Coupled with the App Store and iTunes, this phone still stands as the standard of modern smartphones.

Mobile devices aren’t just means of communication; they became integral parts of our lives. The evolution and revolution of these devices are just starting, and we will reap its benefits in the long run. With their nearly limitless possibilities, what can we expect from them in the next 20 years? Only time can tell.


Facebook: “just the F, please.”


FacebookFacebook has become one of the most famous brands on the planet. It’s completely unavoidable, far more so than Twitter – even your grandparents might be on it! A big part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, Mark Zuckerberg’s college IT project has changed the social landscape forever and helped usher in the digital era. Out with the SMS, in with the Facebook message.

Their redesigned news feed has actually reduced the brand to something even more minimalistic than their existing site design: the Facebook logo is now just the famous “f” symbol. It’s great news for those who’d rather their feed wasn’t being partially taken up by the full name, but also proves a point that’s less than subtle – everyone knows what the “f” means, and new users are already aware of the service.

They’re also beginning to move away from text and focus on image sharing, which is definitely in tune with the view that today’s average internet user prefers pictures to words. A shame for those who love the craft of the written word, but for social, Facebook are bringing their A-game towards photos and other images, as services like Imgur continue to take off into low orbit in terms of popularity, while Facebook struggles to stay as valuable as it claims to be for its IPO.

They also want a better mobile experience, despite the app – an odd aim given that they already have mobile apps whether you’re tooling around on Android, iPhone or anything else – and feel like you should be able to access their social platform easily regardless of the device or software you’re using. Facebook are a company that really understands user desires, and while they do consistently raise red flags when it comes to data privacy/protection, as far as user experience goes, they’re headed in the right direction.

But are they becoming slightly too confident? Their IPO really didn’t go as well as they or anybody else had hoped, and their critics were proved to be right – their number of users is false given many accounts are fake, and the average Facebook user isn’t actually worth much money, if any at all. They were built on supplying services that are free, and as with Twitter, it has proven difficult to capitalise on their user base without being seen as extortionists.

They are however in the odd position of having no competition whatsoever for the service they provide, which, while something of a relief also means that it’s up to them and them alone to reinvent themselves and innovate. While the “f” move is more “look at us” than “here’s a new feature,” they’re definitely trying to simplify and streamline the reasons why people engage with the platform at all, and it’s an interesting step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Facebook Heads arrives for iPhone and iPad


After the long wait, iOS users can now enjoy the new Facebook chat option where you can see a picture of your contacts in a bubble-shaped icon whenever they message you. Although the Facebook Chat Heads is one of the primary features of the Facebook Home for Android, Apple device users will now receive this feature with the recent mobile updates.

At the All Things D mobile event held this week, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer and Mobile Engineering vice president Cory Ondrejka made an official announcement that the quirky messaging experience on the Facebook Home will now be available to iPhone and iPad.

In the article published by Mashable.com, Facebook said that “iPhone users who download the update will start to see Chat Heads pop up over the next couple of weeks.”

Creating a more playful and dynamic messaging interface, the Chat Heads were designed to show the profile picture of your contacts that signifies a new message thread. The pictures appear in a floating bubble-like heads on your screen. Users will need to click on the picture in order to open the message thread.

So, what’s the difference between the Chat Heads for Android and iOS? Without the interface, the Facebook Heads will only work inside the application, unlike in Android, where users can interact with their Facebook directly on their Home page, as explained by the Facebook executives.

The new Facebook app will soon be available on the Apple’s App Store, although the Chat Heads might take a few weeks to reach other users. The new version will have bigger and bolder News Feed design and will introduce digital stickers to the messaging system.

The integration of Chat Heads to the iOS app does not indicate that the Facebook Home will be available for Apple devices. Facebook is sill focused on targeting the larger market of Android users. Recently, the new Facebook-centric UI become available in the United States, giving Android Smartphone users more access to their favorite social site. The new UI is now available for the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the HTC One X, and the HTX One X+. We will also expect the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIV and HTC One to have the Facebook Home interface, but for now, HTC First, which will be out on the international market later this year, will be the first device to carry the full interface.

Facebook HEadsIf you enjoy accessing your Facebook profile and connecting with your friends to this social page, then the Facebook Home will be your best option, as long as you have an Android device. Since the Facebook Home for Android might take a few more months to be released, it seems you’ll find the upcoming HTC First with pre-installed Facebook Home, a great Smartphone to buy, although you might find its specs disappointing.

Although talks about the Facebook Home continue to spread, early reviews showed a bad start for the UI considering it only has an overall average of 2.4 Stars on Google Play since its debut. However, we cannot purely judge the interface just yet; Facebook Home still has a lot more to run with the release of its first mobile, HTC First.